Young Indian team to battle it out against B'desh in toxic air
New Delhi: The youngsters on the fringes will line up for another World Twenty20 audition while a few seniors will try to get back into the groove when firm-favourite India take on Bangladesh in the smog-hit series-opener here on Sunday.
Questions have been raised over the rationale behind hosting the match in Delhi at a time when the national capital is battling post-Diwali air pollution but the BCCI ruled out shifting the tie at the last minute due to logistic issues.
The visiting side is not complaining but pollution, the resultant health concerns and the ban imposed on Bangladesh's iconic all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan just before the tour has definitely hogged more limelight in the build-up to the three-match series.
The teams are ready to battle it out and with no established name figuring in India's bowling department, it will be an opportunity for Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dube, his statemate Shardul Thakur and Rajasthan's Deepak Chahar to show what they bring to the table.
There are still around 20 matches that India will play before next year's World T20 in Australia but the Indian team management has said that it would prefer to identify the core of the team without much tinkering.
Considering the same, it is time for these youngsters, including spin all-rounder Washington Sundar, to make a case for themselves.
Stand-in captain Rohit Sharma is in perilous form and he would look to carry his Test form into the shortest format.
But his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan is yet to find that big knock after making a comeback to white-ball cricket from a thumb injury that had cut short his 50-over World Cup in England.
The Delhi left-hander had scores of 36 and 40 during the South Africa series and struggled to find runs during the recently-concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy, where he managed just one half-century in seven matches.
Among others, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Krunal Pandya and local boy Rishabh Pant look certainty in the middle order. If Shivam Dube is handed his much-awaited India debut, he will have to be placed up in the batting order, considering his big-hitting ability.
Dube's selection in the playing XI will rule out both Manish Pandey and Sanju Samson because the remaining slots are likely to be taken by Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar and Washington Sundar.
Like Dhawan, it's also an opportunity for leg-spinner Chahal to earn back his place in the Indian side. Getting limited opportunities this year has put brakes on his career which at one time soared in company of Kuldeep Yadav.